DJ Montana Ali Discusses Carolina Breakthrough, the Return of the Mixtape Era, and Empowering Technology

How was the wrap-up for 2021 for you? Was it good & what could’ve been better for you?

Overall, I had a good year. This was a building year for me so I took a step back and put a lot in motion for the team. We just launched our management department under OnDemand Entertainment, which was a major move for us. Our main focus is helping Carolina talent reach that next level of their career. Then for me personally, it was just all about growth. I dropped a couple of projects that did real good and I hit over 10 million streams overall. So I gotta say it was a good year. 

Where are you from and how did you get your name? 

I’m from South Carolina, born and raised in Greenville. Folks are really  sleeping on South Carolina though. We got the talent but I feel like we just lack a lot of the resources and opportunities. But it’s all coming together. I came up with my name myself though. Montana was something that always stuck with me since we started throwing house parties my freshman year in college. Then Ali means People’s Champ. They have been calling me the people’s champs since my first year of DJing, so I added Ali to my name about 2 years ago. 

How important is the DJ to hip-hop culture? 

Definitely a major part, we create the wave by what we’re playing in the clubs and on the radio. 

Do you think the mixtape era has a chance to make a return and how important is it to the culture? 

Off top, the mixtape game played a major part in what hip-hop is today. It gives artists the freedom to create without the restrictions of a label. We all know hip-hop is art, which is a form of expressing creativity. So mixtapes give artists that open space to be themselves and to be creative. I’ll say the mixtape game definitely took a hit when people started streaming, but I see it making a return. History always repeats itself, it might just have a little twist to it the next time. 

What next artist(s) are you looking to make a breakthrough out of the Carolinas?  

I’m working with an artist now (LongMoney Phil) that’s so raw and different, he from Charleston, South Carolina. It’s just a matter of time with him though, because all the components are there. But it’s a few artists I’m locked in with and listening to on a daily basis. My Boy Double N and MB Montana have been in my rotation heavy, they both from 864 and doing crazy numbers.

Explain what a successful mixtape campaign looks like to you? 

I’ll say it’s like any other campaign, which depends on what your goal is and if you hit it or not. I like to put my biggest campaigns behind the independent artist projects. And that’s because it’s so many people involved, that’s a lot of hands on deck all pushing the same agenda. 

What would you do differently this year than last year with how you are utilizing music with technology to reach your audience? 

Definitely need to start reading more into my mixtape insights. On Audiomack, where I drop most of my mixtapes, my biggest cities are Nashville, TN & Chicago, IL. So with me knowing that type of information, I gotta start taking advantage of that and start showing love to those cities more. 

You managed to garner up 10 million streams on the mixtape sites. How do those stats stand the test of time? What impact are you aiming to achieve? 

My main goal with mixtapes is providing a platform for artists to get their music heard. With 10 million streams, and that’s in 2 years, I’m doing that. I get that mixtapes aren’t the first place people run to for music now, but it’s clearly people still listening to them on mixtape sites. 

Any artist you would like to work with in 2022? 

Nobody specifically but I’m trying to work with who’s working. So if you got a play that makes sense, let’s tap in and put it together. 

What’s next for you? 

Building up our management department and signing some dope talent. I’m also working on my next mixtape and I got a few in the works with some people. It’s gonna be another big year though, I’m ready to see how much we accomplish. 

Instagram/Twitter/Facebook: @DJMontana_ali




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